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DOJ conditions major telecom mergers on divestures

[JURIST] The US Department of Justice [official website] Thursday endorsed [press release] the mergers of Verizon Communications with MCI and SBC Communications with AT&T [corporate websites], requiring both Verizon and SBC to lease to competitors unused or "dark" communications lines that run to office buildings in several metropolitan areas. The DOJ Antitrust Division filed complaints in the US DC District Court alleging that holding these lines would unfairly increase prices for business customers in 8 of Verizon's franchise territories and 11 of SBC's franchise territories; the proposed divestitures, if approved by the court, would resolve the concerns [SBC case filings here; Verizon case filings here]. A spokesperson for the Department said that "the transactions will not harm competition and will likely benefit consumers, due to existing competition, emerging technologies, the changing regulatory environment." Verizon and MCI issued a joint press release welcoming the merger approval; SBC issued a release saying it will adopt the AT&T name. AP has more.

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